Lit Crit

Judging Lauren Leto’s New Book, Judging a Book By Its Lover


The journey from blog to book is well-trod ground for New York City’s literary aspirants. (Half of Urban Outfitters’ book selection, it seems, got its start as an acerbic single-serving Tumblr.) But, it’s not a career path you see startup founders attempt to cross. “Truthfully, I don’t think most people in tech even know I have this book coming out,” Texts from Last Night cofounder Lauren Leto confessed over the phone last week.

Surprise or not, Judging a Book By Its Lover: A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere, her collection of essays on the culture of fiction reading, goes on sale today from Harper Perennial, the paperback unit of HarperCollins with a reputation for publishing work by promising young authors.

The idea started with a blog post Ms. Leto published in 2010 called “Reader by Author,” which was picked up by Observer alum Foster Kamer, then Gawker’s weekend editor. In it, Ms. Leto offered funny snap judgements about personality quirks based on reader’s favored author (for example, “Maureen Dowd: Women who remember fondly the first time they got their period.”) Read More


HuffPo’s Saul Hansell Makes Tracks for Betaworks


Betaworks just got an entrepreneur-in-residence with some old and new media cred: Saul Hansell, former Timesman and the founding editor of the Grey Lady’s Bits blog just announced he’s coming aboard. Mr. Hansell headed up AOL’s freelance network, (now “in the process of reformatting” and not giving out any new assignments, hm) before AOL bought the Huffington Post. “Seed is in fact thriving and will continue stronger than ever as part of AOL’s group, which is devoted to providing the best tools to online publishers and marketers,” Mr. Hansell wrote at the time.  Read More

The More You Know!

Findings Launches Out of Betaworks to Transform the Digital World’s Marginalia


Findings, the fifth company out of the betaworks incubator, just opened to the public today. Using a bookmarklet, the service lets users save and highlight quotes from digital texts online as well as from their Kindles.

Clips, which are imported into a user’s “library” can be annotated with comments and shared via Twitter and Tumblr. On the Findings homepage, users can also see the latest quotes and sources with the option of following people to add their “findings” to your stream.

For straphangers, like Betabeat, who miss the pre-Kindle days of sneaking a peek at the book covers of our fellow C train riders, Findings brings that social element back to reading. Perhaps in an even more intimate way since the service allows you a glimpse beyond the cover, into fellow readers’s marginalia.  Read More